Legal Year in Review

Legal Year in Review

Legal Year in Review provides detailed observations from the legal experts at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP on the most significant legal and business developments from 2021 and their implications for 2022. With 32 informative and in-depth articles covering a wide variety of topics, we help you stay informed.

Episodes

December 23, 2021 14 min

Welcome to Osler’s Legal Year in Review. In our introduction, we share important insights on significant legal developments in 2021, and their implications for Canadian business. The highlights covered here are further explored in the 32 articles that make up this year’s report.

Legal Year in Review is brought to you by Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. Osler is a leading, national law firm with a singular focus – your business. We ...

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In this article – “Tax planning developments: Important international tax changes” – we review such factors as the proposed changes for international taxation in Canada in 2021; Canada’s continuing work with the OECD, G20 and a number of other countries on significant international tax reform proposals; proposed new limits on interest deductibility; proposed anti-hybrid measures designed to reduce the tax advantages currently avail...

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In this article – “Carbon capture and hydrogen development central to Western Canada’s energy transition” – we discuss how Canada’s goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2050 has contributed to a transition in the country’s energy sector toward new technologies and processes like carbon capture and blue hydrogen, and the anticipated impacts of those developments on other sectors of the economy. We also take a look...

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In this article – “Supreme Court ends uncertainty over constitutionality of federal carbon pricing framework” – we review Canada’s federal carbon pricing regime and the history of its constitutional challenges through courts in Saskatchewan, Ontario, Alberta and eventually the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court’s final decision, which provides much-needed clarity on the government’s ability to impose a minimum price on carbon, favour...

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In this article – “Decoding crypto – Providing regulatory clarity to cryptoasset businesses” – we review such factors as the adoption of a clear registration regime for cryptoassets trading platforms (CTPs); regulatory guidance with regard to the advertising and marketing practices of custodial CTPs; new anti-money laundering requirements relating to virtual currencies; the lack of clarity about the extent to which securities regul...

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In this article – “Government of Québec proposes stricter French language law” – we review aspects of An Act Respecting French, the Official and Common Language of Québec, which proposes the most significant changes to the Charter of the French Language since its enactment in 1977. We have highlighted the most significant considerations that may apply if the legislation comes into force. Several key amendments may be particularly s...

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In this article – “The second year of COVID-19: A rapidly changing health landscape” – we review the difficult tasks management teams faced in 2021 as industry standards, government restrictions and guidance, and scientific knowledge pertaining to COVID-19 continued to evolve at a rapid pace. When suddenly politicized vaccines rolled out to the Canadian population, leaders had to decide whether and how to implement mandatory vaccin...

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December 22, 2021 21 min

In this article – “M&A: A look back at 2021 and ahead to 2022” – we examine the remarkable volume of deal-making activity in Canada in 2021, a massive increase over the unpredictability of 2020, and the factors driving this to continue in 2022. We review “busted deal” litigation ensuing from the COVID-19 pandemic, including a pending decision that raises novel and complex damages issues. We also look at an order from the Albert...

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In this article – “Trade Regulation in 2021: A year of evolution and the ‘new normal’” – we review such factors as the evolution of trade law as businesses and governments continue to adapt and learn to operate post-pandemic; how the frameworks for Canada’s trade relationships with its largest partners have become increasingly embedded; and how government policy goals will only increase the compliance burden for businesses operatin...

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In this article – “People, planet and performance: Embracing ESG” – we review such factors as the greater attention being paid to ESG considerations in 2021; demands on corporations for more rigorous disclosure and achievements regarding ESG matters; the push by regulators for greater diversity disclosure; increased focus on climate-related financial disclosure; progress being made towards universal and verifiable metrics and recom...

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In this article – “The latest in Canadian health clinic acquisitions” – we review the current landscape of Canada’s health industry, including the factors leading to the flurry of M&A activity in the sector since the COVID-19 pandemic began, like. Though Canada’s health industry had long been seen as a difficult one for investors to enter, we look at the ways in which they have been able to break into the market and take advant...

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In this article – “Progressive changes in a historic year for capital markets activity” – we review such factors as the continuing push to modernize Canadian securities regulation and reduce regulatory burdens; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on issuers and investors; the significant interest in ESG from the investment community and from securities regulatory authorities; the adoption of a nationally harmonized process for the ...

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In this article – “Extraordinary first day relief, EFC guidance, good faith and more: Notable themes in CCAA restructurings” – we review such factors as the extraordinary relief that takes effect during the first 10 days of a filing when the specific and unique circumstances faced by the debtor justify it; how regulatory stay can preserve the debtor’s licenses; the application of unilateral cessation of performance by debtor compan...

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In this article – “Securities class actions leave: More than a speedbump, not the Matterhorn” – we review such factors as how the courts are becoming increasingly interventionist in their role as gatekeepers, particularly in the context of unmeritorious secondary market claims; how an action from secondary market misrepresentation under the Ontario Securities Act requires leave of the court; and how the test for obtaining leave is ...

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In this article – “Spotlight on statutory interpretation and tax avoidance: Three key decisions in 2021” – we examine two cases decided by the Supreme Court of Canada this year involving the permissible limits of international tax planning. The decisions clarify and provide important guidance on the principles of statutory interpretation in the tax context, with important implications for future tax planning and disputes. We also p...

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December 21, 2021 12 min

In this article, “Lawyers and the AI knowledge gap”, we review what artificial intelligence is, how it can be applied to legal work, such as contracts, and the benefits that can be realized from AI-supported contract assembly and review. We also examine the value proposition of AI in law to enable legal professionals to more quickly and accurately, and how users of the technology should expect to work closely with legal technology ...

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December 21, 2021 10 min

In this article – “VC fund managers innovate to keep pace” – we review such factors as the three significant developments in the Canadian fund market over the last 12 months; how opportunity funds capitalize on opportunities that a fund manager may not have been able to previously pursue; how establishing a continuity fund provides flexibility to an investment manager at the end of a fund’s life; how a permanent capital fund allows...

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In this article – “Upping the ante: Ontario’s iGaming model will be industry game changer” – we review the significant developments in the Internet gaming sector in Canada in 2021, including the federal legalization of single-event sports betting and the proposed regulatory framework for Internet gaming in Ontario, which will provide private operators with immense and unique opportunities. We outline the registration process and ap...

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In this article – “Financial services regulation in 2021: Back to business” – we review some of the significant developments in the sector over the past year. As the industry continues its rapid evolution, 2021 saw various reforms and initiatives looking to regulate discrete parts of the financial ecosystem that had previously been lightly regulated, if at all, such as cryptocurrency, foreign money services businesses and open bank...

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In this article – “A dynamic year for capital markets enforcement” – we review such factors as capital markets enforcement activity in 2021; the announcement of a beneficial ownership registry; the use of early resolution offers to resolve enforcement cases more efficiently; the pandemic-induced transition to virtual regulation and enforcement; the increase in whistleblower tips; the greater priority enforcers are giving to combatt...

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